This summer Lou and i saw Groundhog Day at the Old Vic with my dear friend Mark Nevin and Louise his lovely wife, and i have to say i was emotionally blown away by the story, which i had never seen before. Summers always ended for me in Ireland when i was a child, up on the Antrim Coast with my parents, in those shorts, in those sandals and socks, in those mini moods that made me the man i am. Summers that led me softly through my imagination into the frozen weeks of a new school term, and my favourite month of the year September. For now its still Summer and its still August but we have had four months of thus. And now the fields are being toiled, crops bailed and in the shed, its another day, its Groundhog Day. The long shadows are falling from the downs as i walk with Sid my stupid dog. Somewhere in the future there is a place that is still and may even be heavenly, a place where i can stop for a rest, i seem to have missed the call for a holiday this year. The future is a very dangerous place. Lou and i did get a week away, but whisk, and its gone, we eat well and the weather was good, and being away from the humming of children was bliss. Children oscillate so quickly from mood to mood and they always try hard to test the patients of the elder generation who have had the benefit of age and to know how to fill a dishwasher, or pick up dirty pants! We did holiday for a week, and wow how it passes so quickly, like a breeze on a pond. The ripples reflect the corrugated expressions of our faces on the sky above. We are home, we have home, we are here in the field and its been a beautiful few months since my last blog on my website. Squeeze shows, laughter and songs, emotions and traffic jams, wrist bands and food tickets. A time of growing for our hearts, a time when a back cracks and thanks to the man with the needles. Being in a band should not be stressful at my age, it should be the desert of a good meal, a pudding of many songs, so many people and so many shapes to throw. If its a problem then why. And so i enjoy what there is and soak up the late summer sun of our repertoire with a big silver spoon. Yum. ‘can i have some more pleaase Mum?’
This summer has also seen me hosting more writers weeks, Pennard House was amazing, if a little chaotic, with a final night concert in a local Church with special guest Dave Stewart. So many songs, too few homes from them to breath in, but a good time was had by all. I enjoy these weeks, they have changed over the 24 years i have been doing them but today they are as good as they ever were. A more personal writers tutorial was for the Idler Magazine, five people in a room in Notting Hill Gate. Close and creative, loved every minute even if my back made me come across like a 72 year old. The future is so dangerous. I also hosted a writers workshop for The Guardian Newspaper, but what do i know, i can’t teach people how to write songs, but i hope to inspire with my dizzy journey. I struggle myself to write, as i get older the time is just not there to observe and be in that moment. The scribe goes to bed and wakes with his pencil still sharp at his side, and in his head all the words all of the dreams and ideas. The darkness of evenings drawing in scares me, where did that summer go. Its 8pm and the sun is beyond the mast. My pen is no longer sharper than my sword, but it could well be given the air given the words and given the time. I really love watching everyone write when im away, hearing the love that friends can provide for each other, its beautiful.
This summer there wont be a cloud in the sky. Im so very lucky, i have nothing to worry about, but i have much to write about and once the touring calms down in November. I aim to concentrate on that part of me, and that part of me is long overdue. A part of me like a dusty room, i need to open the door and clean off the dust from the bookcases and the desk, blow dust from the books and light that candle which will illuminate my imagination and the lyrics, words that then can fall. Its a wonderful room, the door for now is closed as i seem not to be able to find the time to open it. My room is quite and its been there now since i built it in my imagination many years ago. Its the shed. Out here is everything else, the festivals the family, the travel. This time next year and nothing will have changed Rodney, there will be crops, there will be garden centres, there will be shows and family, and i hope new songs from a new place. And talking of new songs, The Strypes are writing out of the box, their next album will change things for them I’m sure of that. And talking of change. Change is doing something you always feared, and embracing the consequence of that new reality. The wonderful journey i feel like I’m on is only possible with the love of all around me. Surrounded by everything i could ever need, shoes, socks, pants and pencils. Guitars, books and gadgets. Family and friends, aftershaves and home, i have it all. Louise is the oxygen around my heady and often stupid ideas, she pulls the reigns on a clumsy cantor through the long grass of August. Its all worth it here in my field. To be frank, its my field.